Mike Calvin’s predictions for the 2012-13 football season
It’s that time of year again. It’s the moment a humble scribbler places his or her neck on the executioner’s block and hopes that not too much blood will flow. Here is my guide to the new season’s winners and losers, with a special mention of a team to watch in all four divisions.
Premier League predictions:
Top four (in order): Manchester City (champions), Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United
Relegated: West Brom, West Ham, Southampton
Team to watch: Arsenal
It’s payback time. Arsenal fans, who never tire of reminding us they pay top dollar, deserve a trophy for their patience. Arsène Wenger has bought well in the transfer market, retaining his equilibrium despite being held to ransom by Robin van Persie. The promotion of Steve Bould to first-team coach should improve defensive discipline, but the prevalence of injuries remains a worry. Third again in the league, but a cup to compensate.
Promoted (in order): Bolton (champions), Middlesbrough, Cardiff
Relegated: Crystal Palace, Charlton, Barnsley
Team to watch: Blackburn
The lunatics are still running the asylum at Blackburn. Money seems to be no object – new signings on £30,000 a week are apparently the norm – but class and common sense cannot be purchased. The farce that led to so-called global adviser Shebby Singh, a former TV pundit, apologising to manager Steve Kean and the “past his sell-by date” Morten Gamst Pedersen does not augur well.
League One predictions:
Promoted (in order): Preston (champions), Swindon, Bournemouth
Relegated: Walsall, Portsmouth, Bury, Hartlepool
Team to watch: Preston
Graham Westley has stolen My Way from Frank Sinatra as his signature song. He has decimated last season’s squad, which baulked at his distinctive 9-5 training regime. Unwanted stragglers are training on their own, excluded from a group of 13 new players signed by the end of May. There’s no middle ground: it could be a disaster, but might very well be one of the success stories of the season.
League Two predictions:
Promoted: Rotherham (champions), Gillingham, Chesterfield, Bradford
Relegated: Burton, Morecambe
Team to watch: Barnet
Barnet are the club that refuses to die, having survived on the final day of the season for the past three years. Martin Allen and his pet pooch have relocated to Gillingham. New manager Mark Robson is an exceptional young coach, with great contacts at youth level in the Premier League. He plays the game the right way. Not a promotion season, but they will be on the fringe of the play-offs. That’s progress.
Follow Mike Calvin on Twitter @CalvinBook
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Watch live football on BT Vision:
Cardiff v Huddersfield, 7.30pm, 17 August, Sky Sports 1
Leeds v Wolves, 12.30pm, 18 August, Sky Sports 2
Newcastle v Tottenham, 4.30pm, 18 August, ESPN
Wigan v Chelsea, 1pm, 19 August, Sky Sports, Sky Sports 1
Man City v Southampton, 3.30pm, 19 August, Sky Sports 1
Everton v Man Utd, 7pm, 20 August, Sky Sports 1
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